Conference papers

Dealing with uncertainty in contemporary African lives

Medarbetare: Haram, Liv | Yamba, C. Bawa
Utgivare: Uppsala : Nordiska Afrikainstitutet
År: 2009
Ämnesord: Uncertainty, Traditional culture, anthropology, cultural change, Social change, modernization, gender relations, Sexually transmitted diseases, Economic implications, Daily life, Conference papers, Social anthropology, Socialantropologi
The articles in ‘Dealing with Uncertainty in Contemporary African Lives’ are based largely on work in Tanzania which has been spared much of the turmoil that elsewhere has uprooted populations and destroyed communities. Nevertheless they illuminate phenomena common throughout sub-Saharan Africa as modernity in its many guises undercuts old certainties, outmodes established knowledge of how to order life and deal with crises, introduces new hazards, and frustrates ambition and expectations. But as the editors, Haram and Yamba, point out, uncertainty and insecurity have a positive side, providing the basis for ‘curiosity and exploration’. The case studies demonstrate both the increasing uncertainty and insecurity of life in contemporary Africa and the ways that people respond, including warding off and reaching out. Scapegoats are sought. Witch beliefs become elaborated as explanations of failures and malaise while witchfinding becomes a lucrative profession. Pentecostal or other fundamentalist churches burgeon as they assure people that life has meaning and better times are before them if only they believe. Suicide and insanity are other possible responses. All in all, a thought-provoking volume. Elizabeth Colson, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley

Transforming elections into opportunities for political choice

Medarbetare: Ibrahim, Jibrin
Utgivare: Uppsala : Nordiska Afrikainstitutet
År: 2007
Ämnesord: political development, Political power, Democratization, political participation, elections, Civil rights, Conference papers, West Africa, Political science, Statsvetenskap
This monograph presents a well-informed overview and analysis of political transitions, democratic struggles and elections in West Africa. It explores the ways in which various authoritarian regimes across the sub-region have tried to subvert democracy and how the citizens of various countries have struggled against dictatorship and impunity, to achieve the return to democratic rule. Drawing on insights from the Ghanaian model of free and fair elections, Niger's difficult, but successful transtion to democracy, elections in post-conflict Sierra Leone and Liberia, and the struggles for democracy in Nigeria, Jibrin Ibrahim proposes concrete strategies that will empower the people of West Africa to make political choices which will advance and secure their individual and collective socio-economic and democratic rights.